Saturday, March 11, 2006

Father to Son: Join GOP or pay for college

A Highland Park, Texas, man has instructed his 17-year-old son to become a member of the Republican party if he wants his father to pay for his college education. The son, an avowed Democrat, has sworn not to give in to his father's demands.

Highland Park isn't exactly a slum. In fact, it's one of the wealthiest suburbs in the United States, chock full of multi-million dollar homes. Affording his son's college tuition isn't the issue. It's all about political ideology.

So, instead of relying on his father for his college tuition, Teddy Gambordella has embarked on a scheme to finance his own education via the Internet. Good for him.

Blood may be thicker than water, but does it trump political allegiance?

Not for the father and son duo of Ted and Teddy Gambordella.

Ted Gambordella dislikes the idea that his only son, a Highland Park High junior, is a Democrat. He loathes it so much that he has flat-out refused to pay for his son's college education unless he becomes a Republican.

"Yeah, I'm serious," said Mr. Gambordella, a 57-year-old martial arts expert. "He's got to earn his own way."

That suits Teddy just fine.

The 17-year-old said there's no way he'll switch to the GOP just to get his father's financial backing. He recently started a Web site – – to raise money for college.

"It's not about the money," said Teddy, who spent two years wrestling for W.T. White High before joining Highland Park's team last fall. "It's about spreading knowledge about Bush and his administration and proving my dad wrong. It's more of a principle thing."

The premise is similar to, started by a 21-year-old Brit in August to pay for college.

Supporters purchase pixels – dots on a computer screen – as advertising space.

The pixels cost $1 a pop, with a minimum purchase of 100.

With just 10,200 out of a million pixels sold, Teddy has a long way to go.

Amaya Smith, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, couldn't resist using Teddy's story to take a shot at the White House.

"If he doesn't get money from his parents, he's going to need to raise it on the Internet because he's not going to get it from this administration," Ms. Smith said. "Republicans in Congress have cut more than $12 billion in student aid."

Ken Fairchild, acting executive director of the Dallas County Republican Party, said Democrats give the same response to everything. "Blame it on Washington," he said, chuckling.

Mr. Fairchild said that while he admires Teddy's initiative, he's sorry that he has been brainwashed into supporting the Dems.

"I would urge him to listen to his parents," Mr. Fairchild said.

Not going to happen, says Teddy.

"I don't see him changing my mind," he said, seated next to his dad, who shook his head and rolled his eyes. "I see me changing his mind. It's easy to come up with a million reasons" to dislike President Bush.

Mr. Gambordella countered that he was liberal in college. Now the martial arts instructor and author listens to Rush Limbaugh daily and backs Republicans with his pocketbook and at the ballot box.

Though Teddy admits he's new to the political scene, it's something he wants to stick with.

He went to a Dallas County Young Democrats meeting in mid-January and attended a Young Democrats meeting at Highland Park High School last week. He said it was cool to hang out with people who see the world the way he does.

"They weren't crazy like my dad tries to make me believe," he said.

Jeff Barrows, sponsor of the Young Democrats club, isn't surprised to hear about Teddy's online venture.

"He is an entrepreneurial spirit," Mr. Barrows said. "He's one of those guys where if the solution lies within his reach, he's going to go for it."

Debra Gambordella, also a Republican, supports both her son and husband but doesn't want to get into the scuffle. She says becoming a Democrat is a better way to rebel than drinking or doing drugs.

Mr. Gambordella said he may not agree with his son's politics, but he's proud that Teddy is showing initiative. He hopes Teddy's site kick-starts some "intelligent" discussions.

"Democrats are too extreme. If they had some moderate voices," Mr. Gambordella said, his voice trailing off as Teddy's eyes rolled back into his head.

"I could be that voice," the teen suddenly chimed in.

His father chuckled and shook his head.

"He'll grow out of it."

Here's hoping Teddy doesn't "grow out of it." Mr. Gambordella Sr. listens regularly to Rush Limbaugh, yet he thinks Democrats "are too extreme?" Please!


At 2:48 PM, Blogger vcthree said...

I applaud the kid. Imagine how that would've looked..."Yeah, I can't stand the Republicans, but I need the money, so...BUSH WON, GET OVER IT! MEGADITTOES! WHAT SAY YOU?!"

It just gives me hope that money never triumphs actual conviction. Which is more than I can say for the parties themselves.


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